2011 CBA Negotiations Thread

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by G-man, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    James Dolan, NBA committee to talk new CBA with players
    Daily News - Mitch Lawrence 8/4/09

    "Depending on what happens with LeBron James next July, the Knicks could be pursuing Chris Paul in two summers when the Hornets' star playmaker can become a free agent. But Monday, Garden chairman Jim Dolan will meet with Paul on a different matter.

    At a midtown hotel, Dolan and members of the NBA owners' labor-relations committee will sit down with Paul and his executive-committee peers to start what figures to be a long and slow process toward a new labor deal.

    The current collective bargaining agreement has two more seasons to run, and the 11th hour won't arrive until July 1, 2011, so there is some question as to whether there will be a sense of urgency to get a new deal done in the coming months. Both sides have said today will be mainly a getting-to-know-you session, with Dolan and Paul among several new negotiating team members.

    But there have been signals from both camps in recent weeks that negotiations will be difficult and the league could be facing its first lockout since closing down operations in 1998.

    Citing declining revenues and their contention that less than half the 30 teams made a profit last season, owners are expected to seek major changes in the current system that guarantees players 57% of basketball-related income. In informal sessions between the two sides in recent months, the league has painted a bleak picture of future revenues, and is expected to do more of the same today.

    However, the players are skeptical of the figures the league has been using and are opposed to an overhaul of the system that went into place in July 2005. Furthermore, the players don't want to rush into a new deal, given the bad economy.

    The owners will be headed up by commissioner David Stern, who declined comment Monday through an NBA spokesman and has imposed a gag order on owners. Billy Hunter, the NBA Players Association's executive director, will lead a team that includes the Lakers' Derek Fisher, president of the NBAPA."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2009/08/04/2009-08-04_nba_players_to_start_talking_deal.html#ixzz0NMhONQQV




    NBA owners expect major labor and financial pain in league's future
    Daily News - Mitch Lawrence 8/5/09

    "Alarmed by the bad economy and struggles of a number of the league's 30 teams, NBA owners continued to paint a bleak financial picture Tuesday in Manhattan when they opened labor negotiations with players on a new contract.

    Ten owners, including the Knicks' James Dolan, used the 3-1/2-hour meeting to potentially lay the groundwork for major changes in the current system that pays players 57% of basketball-related income.

    Walking out of a midtown hotel with Laker executive Jeanie Buss after the session, Dolan engaged only in small talk with reporters. Owners are under a gag order from commissioner David Stern, who also refused comment.
    The two camps called the meeting "productive and cordial."

    "There was a preliminary exchange of financial information, but no proposals were made," both sides said in a joint statement. "We both look forward to another meeting before the start of the season."

    At the next meeting, tentatively scheduled for September, players expect to hear more lousy financial projections. In informal sessions between the two sides over the last few months, owners have harped on the poor economy and how it has hindered teams and will continue to adversely affect bottom lines. That's why owners exercised their option not to extend the current pact for one more season, covering 2011-12. The current deal has two seasons to run.

    Despite the dire projections, the Lakers' Derek Fisher, president of the NBA Players Association, came away with "optimism."

    "There seemed to be a feeling in the room that everybody is trying to do the right thing," Fisher said. "I hope that will continue."

    But if owners demand major changes to the current system, both sides foresee a long, difficult road to a new deal."


    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/2009/08/05/2009-08-05_nba_owners_expect_major_labor_pains_in_leagues_future.html#ixzz0NMg5S7Mf




    Owners share grim figures with players as CBA negotiations begin
    Ken Berger - CBS Sports

    "NEW YORK -- In a negotiating session described by both sides as "cordial and productive," the NBA and its players union began talks Tuesday on a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires after the 2010-11 season.

    But no amount of politeness could sugarcoat league-wide losses -- and projected losses -- that were presented by ownership's negotiating committee in the closed-door session at a Midtown Manhattan hotel. One person familiar with the talks said the owners came prepared with "astronomical" figures detailing league-wide losses.

    It's a good thing they're starting these talks early.

    No formal proposals were exchanged, given that this was only a preliminary step in a two-year process aimed at ratifying a new agreement without enduring a damaging lockout like the one that hampered the NBA in 1998-99. The only official business came in the form of formal notice from the owners that, as widely expected, they will not exercise their option to extend the current CBA by another year.

    "I think we knew that coming in," said the Lakers' Derek Fisher, president of the National Basketball Players Association. "I think it was a point that they just made sure was understood, that the deal won't be extended as it currently stands. There was no surprise there."

    Nor should there be any surprise that owners presented a grim financial progress report that Fisher diplomatically described as "cautious." A person familiar with the owners' strategy said they claimed league-wide financial losses in every year of the current CBA, which went into effect at the start of the 2005-06 season.
    The league and union agreed to begin the collective bargaining talks a year earlier than is customary, given the state of the economy and both sides' recognition that another costly work stoppage must be avoided.

    The owners, accompanied by commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and president of league and basketball operations Joel Litvin, generally stuck to projections given to teams by the league office last month that league-wide revenue could decline between 2.5 percent and 5 percent during the 2009-10 season. As a result, the salary cap would decrease in 2010-11 -- the final year of the current deal -- to between $50.4 million and $53.6 million. The cap for 2009-10, based on last season's revenues, has been set at $57.7 million.

    The issue isn't so much the declining cap, according to sources, but rather the overall share of revenue that players receive. Owners argued that the current system gives players an unfair split of revenues and struck the first blow in the negotiating process by advocating for a higher percentage of revenue going to the teams, a person familiar with the owners' position said.

    Under the current CBA, players are guaranteed 57 percent of league revenues, with any overage getting refunded to the teams through the players' escrow fund. The owners are believed to be pushing for closer to a 50-50 split.

    But players already are seeing payrolls shrink as a result of declining revenue related to the ongoing recession. The owners did not formally propose what share of revenue they are bargaining for, and union officials plan to review the league revenue figures given to them with their own accountants before agreeing to hold another bargaining session, which is expected to take place before the start of the regular season.

    The players association -- and small-market owners -- also will push for an enhanced revenue sharing model that will funnel more revenue from the big-market teams to those in smaller cities struggling with ticket sales and local sponsorships. Although it is believed that the owners already have agreed on the framework for such a model, their negotiating committee did not formally propose it on Tuesday, sources said.

    Owners leaving the meeting at the Omni Berkshire Place declined to comment on the proceedings. The key figures from both sides -- Stern, Silver and Litvin for the league and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter for the union -- did not comment beyond a joint statement released by the NBA.

    "The NBA and NBPA held our first collective bargaining meeting earlier [Tuesday]," the statement said. "The 3½-hour meeting was both cordial and productive. There was a preliminary exchange of financial information but no proposals were made. We both look forward to another meeting before the start of the season."

    Ownership was represented by the following members of its negotiating committee: Peter Holt (Spurs), James Dolan (Knicks), Larry Miller (Trail Blazers), Wyc Grousbeck (Celtics), Clay Bennett (Thunder), Robert Sarver (Suns), George Shinn (Hornets), Jeanie Buss (Lakers), Dan Gilbert (Cavaliers), and Glen Taylor (Timberwolves).

    The players were represented by Fisher, Theo Ratliff (Spurs), Roger Mason Jr. (Spurs), Etan Thomas (Thunder), Keyon Dooling (Nets) and Maurice Evans (Hawks). Adonal Foyle (Magic), James Jones (Heat), and Chris Paul (Hornets) also are on the players' executive committee but were unable to attend.

    Despite the owners' less-than-rosy portrayal of league finances, Fisher emerged from the bargaining session optimistic about the chances of hammering out a deal.

    "What was very clear in the room was the sincerity, the honesty," Fisher said. "It was different from any negotiating process I've been a part of thus far in my career. There seemed to be an integrity in the room, and everybody is really trying to do the right thing here. So I hope that'll continue."

    Owners share grim figures with players as CBA negotiations begin - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball
     
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    dba talked about going to some sort of variable compensation model, but the more I think about that, it will be difficult to implement, because costs and revenues won't scale out consistently, and there will be a lot of variance, market to market.

    I think the NBA should look at doing something similar to what the NFL has done, where the sum of the TV deals are the cap (my memory could be off, but I believe that is the basic cap setting model, could be wrong).

    The TV deals are easy to project as they are long term contracts, and would allow teams to better control their side of revenue directly (gate receipts, concessions, luxury suites etc).

    I suspect the owners will try hard to get rid of guaranteed contracts.
     
  3. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    CBA drama: 5 reasons for NBA work stoppage in 2011
    Oly Sandor - Breaking Down The NBA

    "The world economy is doom and gloom. And the NBA is not immune.

    Indiana will lose close to thirty million dollars this season. New Jersey is also in trouble, allegedly tapping the NBA’s emergency loan program for twenty million dollars to service existing debt. The Pacers and Nets aren’t alone. Several clubs are struggling with The Great Recession.

    So the stakes will be high when the Players Union and owners renegotiate the current Collective Bargaining Agreement before it expires in 2011. Look for Commissioner David Stern to try for, and likely get, major concessions. And a work stoppage is probable.


    In this edition of ‘Listed’, HoopsVibe the blog is dropping five contentious issues that could result in a work stoppage. As always, read the post, form an opinion, and get at us in the comment box below.

    5) Entry level contracts …
    Stern wants two concessions. First, he’ll try to secure for owners an escape clause on rookie contracts after two seasons (all first round picks are guaranteed three years with the club holding the option on the fourth year). The hope here is teams can get dead weight like lottery bust Patrick O’Bryant off the books sooner.

    Second, at the same time, the commissioner will attempt to extend the salary structure of rookie contracts by an extra year. The goal is to pay top young players entry-level dollars for longer and make them wait an extra year for their lucrative second contract.

    4) Mid-level exception …
    Owners need protection from their own frivolous spending, which means Stern will want salary cap loopholes closed. The players can say adios to the Mid Level Exception. The MLE allows teams to sign a player to a contract equal to the average NBA salary (5 million dollars), even if that team is already over the salary cap.

    3) Salary Rollback …
    In 2005, NHL players had to take a double-digit pay cut as part of their new CBA. Expect NBA owners to ask for, and receive, something similar.

    2) Guaranteed contracts ...
    Again, owners need protection (from themselves), so Stern will push for the players to accept NFL style contracts. The league’s head suit may have a point. Long-term, guaranteed pacts seem out of touch with the current economic climate.

    1) Hard cap …
    In the 1980s, Stern saved the NBA and avoided labour unrest by creating a soft cap. For years, the players and owners prospered under this system as league revenue grew at an exponential pace.

    Things have come full circle. In 2011, the league is again on shaky ground. And Stern will push for a hard cap with fixed costs as his swan song as commissioner."

    CBA drama: 5 reasons for NBA work stoppage in 2011
     
  4. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    That's the key point that makes this hard. The league is bargaining as an entity, but the needs of the individuals within varies greatly. My guess is that salary costs, as they often are, are among the few variable costs in the business, certainly the largest, and the obvious place to look for profit relief.

    In this case though the players have more power than in probably any other labor negociation. Without them there is no league, and the league's relentless marketing of stars has reinforced that.
     
  5. coynejeremy

    coynejeremy All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    But we've also seen that they have the weaker hand when it comes to the threat of work stoppages. It's been made abundantly clear that a huge number of NBA stars live paycheck to paycheck, and that owners can survive a lockout much longer than players.
     
  6. Ernie the Slow Adult

    Ernie the Slow Adult All-Star Forum Donor

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    So why are the players asked to make all the concessions then? It seems the folks with the $$ are crying poor.
     
  7. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Not necessarily. The difference between the owners and players, is that the players can go work somewhere else, like Europe, but the owners can't go out and get a 2nd rate Lebron James to put on national TV.

    Also, the owners have fixed costs and overheads as well.

    But I think owners are imminently more capable of securing lines of credit and capital to get them through, than the players would be. I would feel pretty confident making a one or two year loan to the NBA. It's not going to disappear overnight or in a labour stoppage.

    Often overlooked, the owners are the only party in the CBA who can take a loss. While the players may want (or deserve) more, they have zero downside. All risk is born by the owners as the players get paid before the owners realize a profit on the season's operation.

    People frequently don't understand this dichotomy. Employees get paid now, but they get a smaller wage than if they were partners. People say, "Well XYZ corp made a lot of money, how come I didn't get that kind of money, I'm doing the work?"

    The employee gets paid for his labour today, he isn't involved in the risk that the end product will be profitable or not. So he works at a discount because there is a finance cost to pay today (before profits and loss are realized). If he wanted to share in the greater profits at the end, it only makes sense he would have to be a partner, and take a share of losses as well.

    Not many of us would go to work if we didn't get paid for 6 months, and might get paid nothing if things go badly. Typically, if we're going to take that risk, then we would start our own firm.

    Which (G-man is an expert on this) is what Zeke tried to sorta do with the Continential League iirc.
     
  8. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    An owner can go buy a team in Europe.

    And they often go out and get 2nd rate players and present them on National TV.
     
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    There are only a handful of super wealthy NBA owners. Most of them cannot. And I suspect the NBA probably has non-compete agreements that prevents owners from having teams in non-NBA basketball leagues.
     
  10. coynejeremy

    coynejeremy All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    It's true, there are more options now for players then there were at the last lockout. But I still agree that owners have the upper hand. The majority of players in the NBA don't want to go play in Europe. And getting a personal loan would probably be difficult for them with no income for the foreseeable future. Look at Michael Vick. You'd think he would be set for life with those huge contracts he got. But he finds himself now needing to sign with an NFL team and play for a few years just to break even on his debts.
     
  11. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    Euroleague as an Option for Players?

    Euroleague - Taking On The World - June 9, 2009
    JR On Fire - WWWJohnRillie.com

    "While the NBL is trying to recapture it's swagger from the 90's don't think for a minute other basketball leagues around the world have not taken their hits as well.

    I happened to stumble across this very intersting article that concerntrates on the Euroleague and how it is trying to shape itself to compete with soccer (football) in Europe.

    Have a read (yes, it is rather a long article) and let me know what you think and are there any points that the NBL should take on board."

    "Kevin McCullagh spoke to Euroleague Basketball about how the competition has become the continent’s top basketball prize, and how it hopes to take the sport in Europe to the next level.
    When Ramunas Siskauskas’ three-point shot-to-win on the buzzer bounced clear in this year’s Euroleague basketball final, the scene at the O2 World arena bore testament to the prestige and importance attached to the event.

    The several-thousand-strong support for winners Panathinaikos erupted; their subs and management charged onto the court to embrace and dance. CSKA Moscow players stared dejectedly at their Nikes, before trudging off to backslaps from colleagues, losers by two points and the width of a basketball rim. Two girls courtside proudly held aloft their CSKA Moscow banners as a jubilant Panathinaikos team raised the Euroleague trophy. The gleaming new O2 World in Berlin, one of Europe’s finest indoor arenas, provided an altogether fitting stage.

    The Euroleague has firmly established itself as the competition all European clubs want to compete in and win, ten years after emerging in an acrimonious birth when the top European clubs split from the international basketball federation, FIBA, to form the tournament.Basketball exists in the shadow of football in most territories in Europe, well behind in terms of media coverage, fan numbers, and sponsorship and TV revenues.

    The Euroleague’s strongest territories include only one of Europe’s big five economies - Spain, which has the strongest basketball league in Europe and this season contributed five of the 24 Euroleague teams.

    But to say that basketball is a second-tier sport compared to football understates the significance and size of the top European leagues, clubs and players. Europe is home to wealthy, talented, and storied professional leagues and clubs.

    Many of the top basketball clubs are part of the continent’s most illustrious sports clubs, although the names are more famous in football - Real Madrid, Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos, Olympiacos.

    And the Euroleague has become a powerful central force in the European game, drawing together clubs operating in very different economies and sporting cultures, from the Iberian peninsula in the West, to Russia and Israel in the East.

    Mindful that it exists to serve the clubs - unlike in the NBA, for example, where franchise clubs are created by the league - Euroleague is attempting to steer them collectively upward both on and off the court. It appears to be having quite some success.

    The standard of skills and play in the league is considered to be rising; European teams fare well against traditionally dominant US sides in pre-season friendly matches; European clubs are signing some NBA players - although these still tend to be either veterans or young players lured by the lack of a wage cap; and Europe is providing an increasing number of players to the NBA, still the world’s top club competition.

    Euroleague is encouraging a minimum level of professionalism in its clubs’ organisations and commercial activities, and, through its own educational programme - the Euroleague Basketball Institute - providing training in marketing, management and the media for the next generation of professionals who want to work in the sport in Europe.And it is not just focused on the elite game - the league is also encouraging youth development by organising pan-European competition for top youth teams, in association with Nike.

    A framework for the clubsEuropean basketball has history, professional organisation and a high standard of play. But, says Euroleague CEO Jordi Bertomeu, “Before [Euroleague], no one was co-ordinating the efforts of European clubs, or trying to identify common policies. It was FIBA at the time, but it has other objectives - it has to promote and expand the game everywhere. That’s why the league was created - there was a need to create this dynamic.”

    Josep Cubells, chief executive of Regal FC Barcelona, this year’s third-placed team at the Final Four, admits that the clubs are focused on their own day-to-day business, rather than the bigger picture of basketball in Europe. Bertomeu says “Our responsibility is to create a framework where the clubs can develop their own products. The framework is based on good exposure, good sponsorship platforms, and good organisation on the sporting side.”At the heart of the framework at the moment is a 24-team competition, played between October and May, with midweek matches, moving through two group stages, and one direct knockout round, to the ‘Final Four’, a showpiece event featuring two semi-finals, a third-place playoff and a final, broadcast on TV in 173 countries.

    Euroleague Basketball is owned 80 per cent by the clubs taking part, and 20 per cent by the national leagues. The top clubs currently have their participation guaranteed for three years, with smaller clubs having one-year contracts. Next season the format changes to secure the places of the top clubs indefinitely, with the hope that this will make them more attractive to investors and sponsors.

    The main Euroleague tournament is backed up by a second-tier competition for weaker teams - the Eurocup (formerly the ULEB Cup) - which is designed as a stepping stone to the elite competition.

    Euroleague has been trying to foster the talents of clubs from the big five European economies in the Eurocup, although with mixed success. UK teams have fallen by the wayside, dropping out of the competition altogether this year.

    Euroleague also runs the Nike International Junior Tournament, which in 2009 featured eight of the best under-18 teams from the continent, and took place on the same weekend as the Final Four, in the same grand venue. One of many signs of the changed times in Berlin, and Europe, the Anschutz Entertainment Group-owned O2 World is a comfortable, highly-profitable 21st century paradise for the sports fan, music fan and consumer, sitting on the site of an old train yard in East Berlin.

    The staging of the Final Four and Nike International Junior Tournament at the O2 World is an endorsement of Euroleague’s strength and an example of the kind of strategic, commercially-informed decision-making that was missing from the European game in the past.

    AEG has a six-year contract with Euroleague to jointly organise the Final Four events. They will take place at AEG venues in Europe, and the two parties share the risk and organisational responsibilities, and jointly sell tickets, sponsorship, and marketing.

    AEG’s Andrew Messick explains his motivation for entering the partnership: “I thought the combination… had the potential to help arenas, by providing world class events, and the Euroleague, by providing it with the showcase I think it deserves.”

    Messick, formerly in charge of international at the NBA, says calling Bertomeu was one of the first things he did when arriving in his post as executive vice-president of marketing and international at AEG Europe. They share the same vision, he says, of what basketball in Europe could be.

    AEG is expanding its European footprint at the moment, including by way of the second strand of its relationship with Euroleague - it is currently in talks with fourteen basketball clubs on the continent about “rebuilding, renovating, and managing” their facilities.
    “A well-run venue for a team provides a fairly powerful economic platform, which it can use to reinvest back in the sport - in junior teams, in buying better players,” says Messick.

    He puts the value to an NBA team of a well-run arena at roughly $50 million per year.
    The new frameworkSuch an economic platform would be very welcome for the European clubs, judging by the conversations SportBusiness International had at the Final Four with two of the biggest.

    Barcelona admitted to being only able to cover 40 per cent of its professional basketball team’s budget - the rest is subsidised by the Barcelona sports club, particularly by the football business. CSKA Moscow says they covered 20 per cent of their budget.

    The philosophy at Barcelona does not see non-profitability as a fatal flaw - rather the club was proud to say that it is a non-profit organisation, which exists for the good of the sport, its fans, and its community. “We are not a company,” says Josep Cubells.Nevertheless, both teams look forward to continued growth of the Euroleague, which provides Barca with 10 per cent, and CSKA with 5 per cent, of their total income.

    They are both in favour of the new structure, within which 12 or 13 teams will be secured a place in the competition - except after the first three years, when the lowest ranked of these each season will pass their licence to the team ranked just below.

    The secured teams will be able to guarantee commercial partners a place on European basketball’s biggest stage, and exposure on its 170-odd broadcast partners, year after year.
    The teams selected for the permanent contracts have been judged on their performances in the last six years of the competition, and also on their ability to generate revenues. However they must maintain a top level of performance in their domestic leagues, or risk having their contract terminated.

    Bertomeu says the new format will encourage better competition in the domestic leagues - in Greece, recently, teams only had to finish third to qualify for the Euroleague which, he says, was damaging the competition.

    From next season, only the champions will qualify, alongside the permanently-contracted teams. “This model is not a revolution,” says Bertomeu. “We are just going deeper with the principles we had in 2000. Those principles were that, if you want to have people investing in the product, you have to give them stability.”

    There will be qualification spots available in the competition each year for the champions of the Eurocup, the national champions of the best leagues, and also to a range of clubs from new countries previously without an entry route, through a qualification round which will select two teams.

    “With one hand we are giving stability to the main teams so that we have a good project to deliver to our TV partners, to our sponsors, to our fans - we have these 12 or 13 teams who are the top and who are champions,” Bertomeu explains. “At the same time we are opening out our base, with more countries [from which clubs are able to qualify].”

    The new system is not yet set in stone. Spain, the strongest of the ten current member leagues, is opposing it on the grounds that it will have fewer teams in the tournament.

    It is the only dissenting voice according to Bertomeu, who is confident that ongoing discussions between the leagues will see the new system “definitely” in place next season.
    It is another evolution in an organisation which, to its credit, has not stood still since its formation. A key evolution which took place in 2005 was bringing in-house the sales of sponsorship and TV rights. The rights had previously resided with Spanishpay-television operator Sogecable, which withdrew to focus on its core broadcasting business.

    It has not all been plain sailing. The league suffered big cuts in fees for TV rights in the French and Polish markets in 2008 - a result of poor performances by teams from those countries, and a lack of competition.

    But TV revenues for the 2008-09 season still reached the Euro 18 million mark, compared to Euro13.5 million back in 2005-06, when it first took the rights in-house.

    The upward curve of the fees is steady, if not steep, and the league expects it to continue. “In the last year, all of the TV deals we have agreed have increased the fee 10 to 15 per cent,” Bertomeu says.

    TV and sponsorshipEuroleague has a mixture of free-to-air and pay-TV coverage in its top markets, including Greece, Spain and Israel - the latter two are the biggest markets in terms of revenues.

    In Italy it is on the Sky Italia pay platform, although it is so happy with the coverage provided that Bertomeu says it hopes to renew its deal in negotiations to be concluded this summer, despite the presence of an interested free-to-air party.

    The league is exploring potential broadcast interest beyond Europe in deals with NBA TV and internet broadcaster ESPN360 in the US, and with CCTV in China.

    Bertomeu believes the Euroleague offers great value to US broadcasters, with fans looking for the next top NBA players, or watching their favourite veterans continue to play, and that there will soon be increased revenues coming from the US, which currently generates “tens of thousands” of Euros.

    Chinese state broadcaster CCTV covered Euroleague for the first time this year, with delayed coverage of the Final Four matches given to it for free in order to gauge the interest in the world’s most populous TV market.

    The league, says Bertomeu, would like to achieve better balance in its TV-sponsorship revenue split, which he says is currently around 75:25 in favour of television.

    At least one of the world’s biggest sporting sponsors is putting its faith in Euroleague. Nike sponsors the league’s ball, the under-18 tournament, numerous players and teams, and works with the league on numerous other promotions across Europe.

    Nike says partnering with Euroleague gives them ‘authenticity’ in the European market. And Nike’s director of global basketball sports marketing George Raveling is quick to point out the league’s dynamism and willingness to change and innovate.

    “It is a growing enterprise. The Euroleague is in an innovative stage right now. They haven’t sat on a pat hand. They’re not grinding out a twenty-year-old formula that they use year after year.”

    Raveling sees the Euroleague as one of the catalysts in a shift in power in basketball away from the US and towards a more even balance with other parts of the world. “The game is changing now - it’s a global game,” he says.

    “The US dominance of basketball… those days are gone forever... There are one in six non-American-born players in the NBA now... I don’t think we are far off that being three in six, over the next 10 or so years.”

    There have been plenty of noises in recent years about the NBA’s interest in establishing a permanent presence in Europe, whether a team or a league. For the moment it appears to be content with pre-season friendly tours.

    When asked if he thinks the NBA still has designs on the continent, Jordi Bertomeu’s answer is confident, and harks back to what remains the backbone of European basketball, and those whom Euroleague serves - the top clubs.

    “If they come, we will be well prepared to face the challenge. They have a great competition, a great brand, but we cannot forget that we have the teams with history, with fans.

    “Europe is based on FC Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv, CSKA Moscow. Those are our assets.”

    JR, On Fire: Euroleague - Taking On The World
     
  12. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    Fiscal Worlds Collide
    Frank Dell'Apa - Boston.com

    "Spanish guard Ricky Rubio apparently wants to play in the NBA next season. The NBA wants Rubio, judging by the fact he was the No. 5 pick in the June draft. And Rubio’s club, DKV Joventut, is more than willing to let him go.

    So, what’s the holdup?

    For one thing, there is Rubio’s $8.55 million buyout, small change for Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. But there is also something stronger at work than dollars - a clause in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement that limits teams to $500,000 for buyouts of players outside the league.

    In other words, Rubio could be playing in the NBA if the Timberwolves were allowed to pay the market price. Olympiakos of Greece and Real Madrid offered Rubio $5 million contracts. Regal Barcelona came in at $3.6 million. All three clubs would have to negotiate the buyout, but Rubio would be earning enough to chip in, as well. And all are offering much more than the Timberwolves.

    If the richest basketball league in the world is being outbid, something doesn’t add up. An obvious solution would be for the NBA to increase the buyout limit when the next CBA is negotiated.

    If the limit were, say, $3 million, it would give the Timberwolves and Rubio a chance to work out a deal. Even if Minnesota offered less than European clubs, it could fork over a couple million and propose playing a couple exhibitions in Spain, donating profits to Rubio’s club.

    Right now, the Timberwolves do not have much bargaining power, their best hope being a sponsorship deal that would pay Rubio enough so that he could buy himself out of his contract.

    But the $500,000 figure is not likely to change, since this is a minor issue compared with what the owners and players were concerned with in pre-CBA talks last week. And if the spending limit is raised too high, “It could open a can of worms,’’ according to former Real Madrid player Walt Szczerbiak, father of former Celtic Wally Szczerbiak.

    “The NBA wanted to protect teams, because they know how things work in Europe,’’ Szczerbiak said. “They wanted to avoid [European clubs] taking advantage of them. They didn’t want teams to be pressured into having to make a decision on paying [for a buyout] or not.’’

    The root of the Rubio stalemate lies in a clash of systems:

    ■ NBA teams are franchised entities competing in a system that limits the number of teams and monitors resources with a player draft and spending restrictions. There are safety nets everywhere in the NBA, to prevent overspending, and the propping up of unsuccessful teams by giving them competitive advantages. European teams are clubs, their leagues heavily influenced by national federations, lack of success penalized by relegation. There are no safety nets.

    ■ NBA teams do not develop talent, relying on colleges to do so. European teams develop their own players, funding a series of youth teams to do so.

    ■ The NBA has a negotiated distribution of the wealth through its CBA. In Europe, similar agreements do not exist, and even if a continental league similar to the NBA were formed, an operation resembling a cartel could be in violation of European Union regulations.

    So, in this case, there is a spending limit accepted almost without question by one league (the NBA), but viewed as a foreign concept nearly everywhere else.

    “I think the cap makes sense,’’ Houston general manager Daryl Morey said. “It creates a natural sort of guideline when international teams are setting buyouts. So that is beneficial to the NBA and FIBA.

    “Maybe there is a way to make it a sliding, graduated type of number, depending on the situation in Europe, or the number of years experience a player has, or something along those lines. Or, depending on where they are picked in the draft, they could be permitted a different buyout. But for the large majority, the cap works fine.’’

    The NBA’s spending limit for players outside the league in 1999 was $350,000. Another $150,000 was added in 2003. Those figures are minuscule compared with what even the poorest of European soccer teams are willing to pay for talent. And the dollar has been devalued since they were instituted.

    “The $500,000 might as well be zero, because it’s only equal to about 350,000 euros,’’ said Guy Zucker, an agent representing several NBA players. “If European clubs are offering $3.5 million and you are offering $500,000, you don’t have a very good chance.

    “It’s an archaic law. If the foreign players sued, it wouldn’t stand up in court.’’

    NBA administrators and owners have become more worldly in the last 10 years. They might still need to be protected from themselves with spending limitations, but they should have grown up enough to be able to negotiate with those sly foreign agents. And, after all, the money for talent development has to come from somewhere.

    “The world doesn’t begin and end in the NBA,’’ said Szczerbiak, who is employed by the Spanish national league. “These teams work hard to be competitive and represent their cities. They have to be incorporated. They are professional teams with budgets of $14 million-$20 million. They have money and time invested in players and they are not thinking of themselves as a farm system for the NBA.’’

    Joventut took a chance with Rubio, coach Aito Garcia Reneses bringing him to the first team at age 14.

    “He was too good for his age group,’’ Szczerbiak said. “In the finals of the 16s, he had 51 points, 20-some rebounds, and I don’t know how many assists. His stat line was off the charts, and that was just in the final game.’’

    As for the Joventut buyout clause, it is a simple matter for clubs such as Olympiakos of Greece and Real Madrid. Both offered $5 million. Then Rubio decided he did not want to leave his El Mansou home near the club in Badalona; he would, though, play for nearby Regal Barcelona, but it offered only $3.6 million. Joventut is sticking to its buyout price, partly because the club could use the money and also because of friction caused, the club says, by Rubio himself.

    “Joventut won’t be low-balled,’’ Szczerbiak said. “They’re upset because, since the draft, they say [Rubio] has acted in a selfish manner.

    “He had a contractual obligation. But now he seems to be saying, ‘What’s in it for me?’ and the president of the club is saying, ‘What’s in it for the club?’ The president is saying they will keep him but he won’t play, and his salary is low enough that they can do it. But it could be a ploy.’’

    Indeed, both sides are posturing. Joventut apparently does need the money, but it might have to settle for less than $8.55 million. But Rubio would be taking a major risk buying out his own contract because he would not earn enough in guarantees from the Timberwolves as the No. 5 pick. Had he been drafted in the top three, the guarantees would have been sufficient.

    “When he signed the contract, his parents and lawyers were there, and they were happy with the buyout clause,’’ Szczerbiak said. “The club loved him and he planned to stay there until he was 20.’’

    But a lot happened in the last two years, and Rubio is now ready for the NBA. Unfortunately, the NBA might not be ready for Rubio."

    Fiscal worlds collide - The Boston Globe
     
  13. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Pretty interesting and informative.

    I don't get the line above though. It's not clear to me who would have the grounds for a suit.
     
  14. coynejeremy

    coynejeremy All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Keep in mind it might just be an agent spinning his wheels.
     
  15. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    Union Pushing for Shorter NBA Season?
    Tom Ziller - FanHouse

    "USA Today's Chris Colston took a look at the pending NBA collective bargaining agreement negotiations through the prism of one of the league's current, fleeting points of concern (or annoyances, depending on the range of your perspective): a lot of players are hurt. The epic Bulls-Celtics series itself is missing Kevin Garnett, Luol Deng and Leon Powe, with Paul Pierce and John Salmons obviously gimpy. Every other first-round series has had injury issues.

    Colston ties this to the length of the NBA regular season, long a bugaboo for pundits. Few say the regular season means nothing these days, but the complaints remain, especially as keystone players like Dwyane Wade wear down in the playoffs. Colston suggests the players union, as a condition to taking a smaller slice of the revenue pie, may demand a shorter season in those CBA negotiations. Lakers guard Derek Fisher, the union's president, suggests a shorter season will be one of several things the players will ask for should the owners push for a different revenue split (it's currently 57% for the players).

    Here's Fisher:
    "The way this game has evolved into a global power, each game deserves to be the maximum of what it can be. If you consistently have key players missing games due to injuries and things that can be avoided, I think that's a fair point to discuss."

    As Mavericks owner Mark Cuban notes in Colston's story, this is a "size of the pie" issue. Maybe every game will mean more as teams can't wait around forever to lock up playoff positioning, but less games means less revenue. One, maybe two franchises lost money by hosting games this year. Gate receipts have to be really bad to lose money on game day. For every other team in the league, shortening the season to (say) 60 games would cause a loss in potential revenues. You can't exactly add more seats to a sold-out Staples Center for a Lakers game that means more, you know?

    This seems like a non-starter to me, even if it's a good idea. As we discussed when the "c-word" (contraction) came up, shrinking anything is a sign of weakness. The league doesn't need to do that. I have a solution, though: that Best of 99 series I talked about! Imagine if this Bulls-Celtics series went on until next February. It'd be great!"


    Union Pushing for Shorter NBA Season? -- NBA FanHouse
     
  16. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    NBA season's marathon grind takes toll, raises labor issue
    Chris Colston - USA Today

    "At the league level, Stern says, they do talk about schedule length. But a reduction of games would have "significant economic consequences" on team and league revenue, he says.

    And numerous business considerations also enter into the equation. "Is it good for our season to run from October to the end of June? Our sponsors and licensees would say yes," Stern says. "Is it good to be the leading sport after the NCAAs are done? I think the answer is evident.
    "And if you say June is too late for basketball, I can tell you this: Those cities in the Finals would happily play into August."

    But with the current setup, teams have to pace themselves during the regular season.

    In a story that ran in the Dec. 29 Los Angeles Times, Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose team won its first-round series with the Utah Jazz, described the season as "a marathon race. ... We play 82 games, and then we go into playoffs, which are overextended as it is. As a consequence, we have to marshal our energy a lot during the course of the year."

    Owner Mark Cuban, whose Dallas Mavericks eliminated the San Antonio Spurs, thinks the quality of play would rise with fewer games but says it can't happen.

    "Not only is (the 82-game) schedule an economic necessity to pay for arenas, it's a competitive necessity, where every game counts," Cuban says. "I don't think lowering the number of games would make much of a difference unless you drop down to something like 25. Then you may see an amplification in value to every game. But financially it would be impossible."

    Fewer games, however, would produce big-picture benefits, according to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. He thinks with a shorter schedule more fans would tune in because each game would hold more gravitas.

    "The NCAA tournament, in 63 games, makes more TV money than the local TV money for the entire NBA regular season of 1,200-plus games," Morey said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March. "It would be hard to tell the owners you'd have to take a revenue hit, but you might get it back later because more people are tuning in."

    NBA season's marathon grind takes toll, raises labor issue - USATODAY.com
     
  17. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    As the U.S. becomes more involved in international basketball, lead players will spend more time playing there, so an overall decrease in league play might just get sopped up in expanded international play.

    Another option would be to increase the number of players under contract, say to 20 max, maybe 16 min. That would mean that top salaries would have to come down to pay the additional slots. But, teams could play guys fewer minutes, give key players weeks off during the season, and reduce the impact of a long season.

    Question is, are there 600 NBA-quality players out there?
     
  18. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    This recession is just getting started. The sooner you take your lumps, the less pain there will be.

    The league should look at contracting expenses everywhere it can, and the player's union should be smart about this and make it work.

    If the ideas they are coming up with are shortening the season as revenue share decreases, or shortening the season as revenues are falling, then they are really in bad shape.

    Macho concerns about signs of weakness don't pay the bills.
     
  19. Mossberg

    Mossberg Bench Warmer 3x Fantasy Champion

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    Teams "Could" play guys fewer minutes, but they won't. Most coaches and gms would still overplay the stars. This is proven by the fact that most coaches don't use all of their players on a 12 man roster even now. Most teams have a 9 man rotation at most for the purposes of being competitive. That would not change.
     
  20. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    One man's take on the CBA insanity..

    I’ve got an idea with regards to the 2011 CBA negotiations: Let’s keep it the way it is!
    Pokeyguru - EvilCowTownInc.

    "This has been simmering for awhile, so forgive me for being irritated (and I am irritated) on matters such as this. Because it’s summer, and August with relatively few NBA news of note, (with all due respect to the Rashard Lewis steroid suspension that won’t be discussed here), and because the 2011 CBA has been talked about ad nauseum by practically everyone (I got over 234,000 hits by typing in “2011 NBA CBA” in Google for instance), unfortunately what has happened is that we’ve seen a ton of variety of opinion on this topic. One such opinion (which is what prompted me to write this) is Andrew Feinstein of Denver Stiffs. In short, he wants non-guaranteed contracts, a better farm system, getting rid of the age limit, simpler trades, and a higher luxury tax line.

    Umm, I don’t even know where to begin with this. (Well, other than it’s somewhat preposterous and pointless.)

    About 2 weeks ago, TZ, of Fanhouse slash Sactown Royalty (StR) wrote a piece that a lawsuit by the NFL could allow the NBA to consolidate it’s own power.

    I think it’s without saying that it’s best for everyone if that ruling is ruled against the NFL by the Supreme Court. Lester Munson did point out the possibility that it very well could go in the NFL’s favor, however, because of the pro business contingent that currently exists on the Supreme Court.

    Needless to say, like TZ, I’m a bit freaked out, and I even started my own post on this. I ended up rambling about the makeup of some of the ownership in the NBA (Bob Johnson, former owner of BET, the only majority NBA owner who isn’t white–he’s black, Mark Cuban—he shouldn’t need an introduction–and Paul Allen–again no introduction) and why perhaps that giving owners more powers in the financial realm of the NBA is not necessarily wise.

    Right now, the players currently receive 57% of BRI. (Click on the link if the term BRI confuses you.)

    A few days ago, I was reading on Clips Nation about the salary cap, and while there are a few things that raised my eyebrows, nothing was too greatly egregioius about that particular knowledge shared over there. In fact, it’s probably on par with most “reasonable” fan’s knowledge. (Or perhaps slightly above.)

    What was interesting was the David Aldridge article that was linked to held some very interesting information that I had to check the actual CBA for.


    First part:
    The owners, according to several sources, are looking for a rollback on the revenue guarantees to players. Currently, players are guaranteed 57 percent of all Basketball Related Income — just about any money that comes from an NBA team, including ticket sales from all games (including exhibition and playoff games), broadcast rights to games, concessions and parking sales, merchandise, team sponsorships and beverage sale rights. In addition, players get 40 percent of the take from the sale of luxury suites and arena signage, and up to 50 percent of arena naming rights.​
    Basically, the interesting part is the 40% take of the luxury suite, and 50% of arena naming rights.Think about this for a moment. This makes players corporate partners in a league venture, and even though the owners pay them to play basketball, many of these young men become successful business people as they move on from the NBA in one way or another.

    Of course, this is part of the problem. Well, for the owners.


    Later on in Aldridge’s piece:
    Owners want to reduce the players’ split from 57 percent of BRI to somewhere around 50 — and more than a few owners want a split in their favor. Either idea, union sources have told me over the past couple of months, is DOA.​
    Yeah. Michael Heisley is more valuable to the NBA than LeBron James. Yuh. Right. (Ditto with clowns like Bruce Ratner, Donald Sterling, George Shinn and Jerry Reinsdorf. If you had a scumbug all owner 1st team, those guys would make it up. Bob Johnson gets a pass only because he’s been an owner for 5 years and he paid an expansion fee.)​
    And (even) later on in Aldridge’s piece:
    “In our case, lots of things over the years played out,” Holt said in Las Vegas, when he was named chair of the committee. “I get credit, R.C. (Buford, the general manager), Pop (coach Gregg Popovich). But we lucked out on some deals, to be blunt with you. Then, we have an ownership group that’s strong. No money has come out of that business, ever, or at least since 1993. So the debt on the Spurs is way down. And so we, as owners, have decided to give us a transition period, are willing to take some hits. But the main reason is that because we have such little debt on the business … it gives you opportunties that in the past, we didn’t have to take advantage of.”​
    Right before Holt’s little nugget, you should also let this roll around your noggin:
    • Implementing a hard cap. “A hard, hard cap,” the source said. The NBA has operated with a “soft” cap since the implementation of the salary cap in 1984 it’s inception (1946–the modern salary cap started in 1984 as Coon notes), with several kinds of exceptions allowed to either re-sign players already on a team’s roster or to entice players from other teams to sign. These include the famous “Larry Bird” exception that allows a team to exceed the cap in order to re-sign its own player; the “mid-level” exception, starting with the average salary paid in a given season, and going out up to five years with annual eight percent raises; and the “bi-annual” exception, which teams can use every other year, and is generally used to help sign veteran players.​
    A hard cap, such as is used in the National Football League, would eliminate all exceptions. Teams would have a specific amount they could spend on salaries, and could not exceed it for any reason;​
    • Higher luxury taxes. A “supertax” that would basically double the luxury tax to $2 for every dollar a team exceeds the tax threshhold, from its current $1. The league tried to implement a supertax in the last negotiation with the players, but the union held firm against it, feeling it would have a devastating impact on free agency;


    • Shrinking the gap between salary cap and tax threshhold. A smaller spread between the salary cap figure and the tax threshhold. Next year’s cap is set at $57.7 million; the tax threshhold is $69.9 million.

    The funny thing here is that this doesn’t necessarily benefit every team. Do you think Mark Cuban, who has payed the luxury tax almost all decade long wants to pay 2 dollars for every dollar he’s over the limit? No, of course not. Owners are angry that Cuban spends his money on the Mavericks, and they want some extra income from Mr. Cuban in case he wants to spend so dangerously (as he would likely continue to do).

    Which is kind of funny, because I already mentioned Peter Holt, and what’s even more interesting is this particular insight by Michael Heisley a few months ago in his discussion with 3 Shades of Blue:

    3SOB: There is a rumor swirling that the Grizzlies could be having serious financial trouble, including possibly declaring bankruptcy. Is there any truth to this story?

    MH: No. That is not true. The Grizzlies financially are operating at a break-even. Our expenditures are in line with our revenues.

    "I don’t know where that story comes from. They aren’t talking to me. Now the league is allowing teams to tap a credit line. The league has allowed teams to access their credit line before. I don’t know any team that hasn’t used it at some point but right now our credit situation is in good shape.

    Funny, even though Heisley is a scumbag, he’s claiming that he doesn’t have bad credit and his spending is in line with his income."

    I wonder what Heisley will say when it comes time to negotiations, and I equally wonder how many owners will admit that this is about making as much as money as they can in the interim.

    Why?

    So they can sell their teams if the economy improves and other prospective owners come around. Now, this doesn’t apply to the Maloof’s, but usually there are 3-4 sales of NBA teams in a decade. I also doubt that Bruce Ratner would stop short of anything he could to make the New Jersey Nets more valuable than they are now. (I don’t think the Nets would mind being sold to Seattle simply because they may not feel New Jersey is appropriate for them in the long run. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything either.)


    Back to Peter Holt. This was the other important part of the Aldridge piece:
    Holt says there is a method to his seeming madness. Basically, the Spurs are loading up for two years — which coincides with all but the final year of Tim Duncan’s contract. By 2011-12, the Spurs will have just two players under contract — Duncan and McDyess, and McDyess’s deal is only partially guaranteed. San Antonio’s time among the league’s top spenders has an expiration date.​
    Funny, this is the same Peter Holt who mentions that the outside business isn’t subsidizing the Spurs, the same Peter Holt who mentions that the Spurs are making a short term run at a title the next 2 seasons, and yet, he doesn’t seem to think the NBA system is hurting him! He (and his co-ownership) has that choice! Guess what if you institute that hard cap. Guess what happens to that choice? (Nevermind that the Spurs are in a similar small market like the Kings. Nevermind that the Spurs have won 4 titles despite the fact that they’re have been terribly low ratings for all the Finals games they’ve been in minus the Knicks series in 99.)​
    It makes the Lakers, the Knicks and the Bulls more valuable. They constitute 1/10th of the NBA. It doesn’t take a genius to see that anything that gives the Bulls, Knicks and Lakers more advantages is stupid. (Oh, I might add that it’s not like Bulls, Lakers or Knicks fans don’t complain about anything either. Every fan complains. But, let me get there. This is a long piece I promise.)

    I suppose my point here is that well run teams are definitely worth far more than poorly run teams, and like 2005, which definitely felt like the owners were setting the players up long term. Read this by one Dan Rosenbaum (at the time a PhD economist out of UNC, and now a consultant for the Cavs) had to say about the players vs the owners in 2005:
    Shortly after the new deal was announced between the players and owners, I declared it a big victory for the players. But with a caveat. We shouldn’t pretend that the fat lady was singing until the fat lady was indeed singing.​
    And not a peep was heard from the fat lady until more than a month later when the final details were hammered out. Based upon what I am hearing, the owners did quite well. This deal is pretty even for both sides and the ultimate outcome will depend largely on what happens to revenue growth over the life of the deal.​
    The initial details suggested that the teeth were taken out of the luxury tax, but that does not appear to be true. The luxury tax is guaranteed in every season of the deal at a lower threshold than used in 2004-05. Perhaps most importantly, teams not paying luxury taxes will likely continue to get larger luxury/escrow tax distributions than teams paying the tax. The new luxury/escrow tax system will be different, but it may deter spending just as much as the old system.​
    Hmmm. What exactly happened to the revenue over the life of the deal? Well, until recently (like last season), the corporotacy in America ran supreme. Then, they (they being the worthless corporacy–I shouldn’t say worthless, but definitely hyper-ego inflated–sound familiar?)got butt-%%%%ed. And, well, a bunch of their profit’s went down the drain. By extension, what happened is that now the upper middle class (whom has feasted (by & large) off this corporacy for the last 30 years in the US) is running scared which is why (seemingly) every other word you hear out of Bill Simmons these days is about the economy. (Bonus: I just read this Kobe post Finals article, and, Simmons happened to nail it. In fact, if I was to make a NBA analogy about Simmons, I’d say that Kobe is probably very similar to Simmons in many respects although the analogy is completely imperfect on many levels. And, the conclusion that Kobe’s legacy of the last 2 seasons ranks up with among the greatest 2 years put on many of the game’s greats is completely accurate. Where was I?)

    Oh yes, the revenue stream of the NBA changed because the corporacy (aka multinationals) decided that paying all this money to these teams for signing rights was asinine! Guess what? Guess who this hurts?

    The NBA has always been oddball to the extreme, and always will be. It’s always been one of the premier social orchestrator’s of any league in the WORLD, and always will be. It’s the game of the poor man. The game of the poor man around the world. Once the Dream Team hit in ‘92, what happened was it showed everyone else how it could be done. And, it made the NBA better, but American’s jealous simultaneously. (Well, stupid Americans. But they don’t count. All 350 million of them.)

    Want some proof? When the Celtics were winning title after titles in the 60’s (with a predominantly black team with definite white talent–hell almost every NBA team had white Hall of Famers in the 60’s) couldn’t draw a fraction of what the Red Sox did in the 60’s because of Bill Russell. Yet, Red Auerbach, the Celtics, and the Celtics Family endured. Two more titles, in 74 & 76, with a beloved scrappy knee scraper like Dave Cowens, out drew those Russell teams in the 60’s. Let’s not even compare the popularity of the Larry Bird teams in the 80’s to Russell.

    I’ve strayed somewhat away from my point. Back in the 60’s, there was a time where the players held out of the All-Star game and threatened to strike. The players president at the time? Oscar Robertson. Robertson was an agitator for players rights (along with black civil rights generally) and did it in his own way with the NBA Players Union. Unfortunately, since Robertson quit broadcasting games, and save a moment where the NBA “celebrates” it’s heritage, and has to honor Robertson, it doesn’t have much involvement with him.

    On the other hand, Jerry West is the quintessential white player of the 60’s in the NBA. It’s not a coincidence, that even though the league was going through a tough time financially in the 70’s, and with a dogfight against the ABA, it chose West to be the new “Logo”.

    Certain things sell better than others. You stick a 6 foot blonde with big tits on TV and enough men will watch to make whatever that blonde is doing sellable. It’s not any different with male athletes, but the angle is not necessarily sex.

    I’m not canonizing Robertson, or villianizing West here. What I’m pointing out is that Robertson, who has run a successful business in Cincinnati since his retirement from the Bucks (which he has claimed was forced in part of the Oscar Robertson suit that he had filed against the NBA in 1970), where West has remained in contact with the NBA working with the Lakers as a scout, assistant coach, head coach and GM of the franchise (for nearly 20 years–starting in 1982), and later for a few years with the Memphis Grizzlies.

    West, even if he wasn’t beloved by particular owners (and he’s probably always been loved by Jack Kent Cooke–former owner of both the Lakers and Washington Redskins– and Jerry Buss–the current owner of the Lakers), certainly was appreciated by them because of his marketability. And, a great story that Kelly Dwyer once told me about West and Heisley went like this:

    Heisley: “We need to make a move.”
    West: “Okay. I’ll make a move.”

    The move? He signed Brian Cardinal to a 5 year 29 million dollar deal. Ask yourself who lost out on that deal?

    Anyway, what’s my point? The players in the 60’s and 70’s fought for something that was beyond their own attainability, and it’s had an everlasting effect. (Beyond individual stats, I definitely think that is the legacy of those players in the 60’s. Including West. He just didn’t suffer some of the angst and antipathy that many black players faced. Or, he faced it differently than they did.) One such item that was heavily fought for was that of guaranteed contracts was something that was necessary in a league like the NBA that would desperately do anything to get rid of a player who has emotional issue’s, monetary issue’s, or “something”. (I think we all can assume that the class of ‘86 isn’t happening again.)

    Oh, you see now. Guaranteed contracts. Does that mean they aren’t holding teams back, like, say, the Denver Nuggets? No more than Kiki Vandeweigh’s bad decisions did. (Or the interest’s that pushed Stan Kroenke to allow that to happen in the first place.)

    Bad owners, and good owners, make all the difference in the NBA. Look no further than Peter Holt and Jerry Buss.

    Now we come full circle to Feinstein. The guy is neither stupid, nor misled. I just disagree, and I assume this is partly due to our fandom. I don’t care for the NFL standard that currently happens with players, and I think most NBA fans would agree. The NBA and NFL are different leagues. Thus, treating them differently, and utilizing how you focus energy towards what works and what doesn’t in the NBA versus NFL is not usually a test case that works.

    The NFL has 32 teams. No franchise in LA. The NBA has 30 teams. 2 in LA, and 2 in NYC as well. (If you count the Nets. I wouldn’t.) The NFL pools it’s money across the league. The NBA hasn’t, and probably never will. No owner in the big markets (LA, Chicago, NYC) wants to give up that advantage, and no owner that is rolling in dough like Paul Allen (Portland), Mark Cuban (Dallas) or Dan Gilbert (Cleveland) want to give up their inherent advantages. That’s just 6 teams (if you discount the Clippers, and I doubt Sterling would want to give up his inherent advantages that he currently has either), and if you include the Clippers, you got 7 teams. Then you have the Warriors and the Bay Area, and I can’t see why they would want to revenue share when their market has always yielded a high return if the Warriors are playing well. (Which, is of course the conundrum for the Dubs. But, whatever.)

    If you have 8 teams (and I mean 8 teams that I seriously don’t want to even consider giving up their market advantage), and that doesn’t include markets like Miami, DC, Philly or Detroit, that’s almost half the league. That doesn’t even include Toronto which is one of the 5 biggest markets by virtue of having all of Canada as it’s market.

    That’s 13 teams.

    I can keep going. This isn’t that hard. I don’t know why Toronto would really want to share it’s profits (as a franchise) when they can keep themselves and build a winning Raptors team.

    Oh, and, how exactly can the US Supreme Court rule for a team located in Canada? (It can’t. Players who play in Canada and who are from over-sea’s are required to have a Canadian and American work permit.)

    That’s the biggest difference between the NFL and the NBA. There is a team in Canada (and was 2 until that scumbug Heisley ruined that synergy– I am bitter about the NBA not having a NBA team out of Vancouver), and I find it hard to see how exactly a Supreme Court ruling applies to a team in another country (albeit in the same league).

    Anyway, that’s besides the point. I’m sure there are ways (like the Canadian Supreme Court or their equivalent) to get around the Toronto issue, but still, it’s unsettling.

    The NBA as it’s constituted is made up of large markets, mid-size markets, and small markets. And, the definition of which is which is often up to the person writing the opinion. Sacramento is considered a small market by media definition, yet it is the 16th largest media market in the US. (Which is barely smaller than Seattle, Tampa or Cleveland. But, I digress.) The difference between Sacramento, and say the 3 cities I mentioned in the last sentence is this: Sacramento is not the major center of the California Region. It does have it’s draws (duh!), but other than the State Capitol, a few elite corporations (Apple and Intel–computers–I’m sensing a pattern here), and the agrifactory farming business that exists throughout the Central/San Joaquin Valley, there isn’t a ton of heavy corporate money.

    Which explains why the Kings have always been in a precarious position when it comes to money. (And why such a push for an arena has always been about a parking lot (which lacks foresight but whatever) and those extra concessions that teams had before. In many ways, Sacramento is getting lucky that it can design an arena without some of those constraints. Of course, it will still get done wrong. But, this is for another day.) But, the Kings still benefit from the market being relatively a choice-filled one by owners and how they spend money. There is the luxury tax which keeps some teams (like Cleveland, Dallas, New York, Lakers) constantly staying in that tax despite the relative market sizes.

    The irony is, as Djturtle of Straight outta Vancouver pointed out the other day, is that Michael Heisley is actually a competent businessman who is spending with accordance to his income. He did actually lose money because the best teams in Grizzlies history weren’t good enough to get beyond the 1st round (and not even win a game) which is usually difficult for fans to root for. Beyond even that, Pau Gasol never drew fans in Memphis either. (Which is something conveniently forgotten, but hey, whatever.) I do have a point, though, which is that money spent, even if it makes sense basketball wise, is not always a financial boon.

    I understand that. Most fans do.

    Which, finally, brings me back to Feinstein, and his piece on Denver Stiffs on Friday.

    First, there was some stuff I did agree with.

    Fourthly, the minimum age rule should mirror MLB’s. The one-and-done rule by which kids have to play at least one year of college basketball or enter the NBA after the age of 19 has backfired on the NCAA. It should really be called one-semester-and-done because that’s exactly what’s happening. What’s the point of having great coaches like Roy Williams or John Calipari or Ben Howland kill themselves to recruit and coach top prospects only to have those prospects jet off to the NBA after a semester on campus? Like baseball, I’d like to see the NBA scrap the age limit. If you’re ready to come into the NBA – a la LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, and so on – then they should be allowed in right away. And for those who stay in college, they should stay at least three years or wait until they’re 21, as they do in Major League Baseball.

    Absolutely do I agree with all of this. Either, let the kids come into the draft out of high school, or make them commit at least 3 years to the college that they go to. Hey, a college degree isn’t exactly invaluable. (Don’t I know it, Mom.) Anyway, the point here is that this is exactly one point I do totally agree with.

    The other main point Feinstein came up with was this: The catch to this last point is that while MLB has a great farm system, the NBA needs an actual farm system. We were getting there until some NBDL teams went broke during the recession. Because ideally, each NBA team would have its own NBDL team stocked with coaches and prospects of their choice. I’ve always wondered if Nikoloz Tskitishvili would have been as big a bust as he turned out to be had he played 40 minutes a night for the 14ers for a full year before competing in the NBA. Imagine an NBA where solid veterans get to keep a bench spot for an extra season or two while rookies and raw prospects play 40 minutes a night on an NBDL team or in college. The quality of basketball in the NBA would rival what we saw in the late 1980’s.

    Absolutely do I agree with this portion (of the age requirement) as I believe the NBA should use the NBDL in some similar fashions to the MLB and the way they use Triple-A for Major League players (like rehab assignments). Also, I’m going to have a piece here in awhile on what I think the NBA should do with all the various things in the next CBA. (It’s one thing to think something’s wrong. It’s also another to have no solutions. I have solutions–some have been thought out already–but also I have idea’s that expand on my idea’s here.)

    Now, to what I disagree with. Which is the rest of it. First off, the guaranteed contract in its present form must go. How many more Tim Thomas’s or Darius Miles’s or Erick Dampiers do we need to see to recognize that the guaranteed contract must be scrapped? The word on the street is that the owners will aggressively fight the union on it in this next go-around of negotiations. And they absolutely should. The Nuggets current situation with Kenyon Martin being owed $15.4 million and $16.5 million over the next two seasons is a textbook example of the guaranteed contract becoming an albatross for an entire organization. The Nuggets have an owner willing to lose money to bring Denver an NBA championship, a competent management team in place and a deep, talented roster that’s just a solid big man away from possibly winning that championship. And yet because of K-Mart’s deal, the Nuggets will be lucky to score a Jeff Foster-caliber center.

    Umm, no, don’t get rid of the guaranteed contract. The NBA is not the NFL. It doesn’t have 11 positions on each side of the ball (plus special teams) to fill. You only have 13 guaranteed players (at a minimum with an average of 14 across the league) needed on a roster. There are only so many players in this league, and only so many players that will come & go. There are already devices for teams to not guarantee contracts to players. Plenty of teams use bad contracts as a way to trade a valuable player and move that bad contract. That’s the way value works. Value works in different ways for different teams at different teams.

    The biggest problem with Kenyon Martin is that he’s not injured chronically to the point where the Nuggets can’t medically retire him and take him off the cap. Everything else is a function of paying for a top level team in the NBA (which the Nuggets were, and I might remind they didn’t pay the luxury tax). However, by not paying the luxury tax last season, they did set themselves up to do so if they wanted to continue to compete.

    Which is the problem. Nuggets fans had gotten used to saving money, and now the Nuggets have to spend it again. NBA fans get confused by the in’s & out’s of the CBA, and how it’s used. But, that’s not necessarily guaranteed contracts fault.

    Would Nuggets fans have a problem with cutting Chauncey Billups at some point? What about Carmelo Anthony? And, what about a team that’s successful (like the Nuggets) that wants to keep it’s core of players around for the long term so they can compete? One way to have that is guaranteed contracts. Guaranteed contracts suck (if you’re badly overpaying Kenyon Martin which the Nuggets are), and they can work for you in keeping the core of a competitive team together rather than risking losing that player whose looking for the biggest payday at every turn which not may be with the Nuggets.

    The NBA is not the NFL. It can’t afford the parity the way the NFL can. There are so many built-in advantages of the NFL that sometimes fans (like Feinstein) get caught up in the whole “guaranteed contract” issue. It’s an issue yes, but not for the fans. It’s an issue for the owners in how much money they pay. But, the moment that it costs owners a winning team, or a way to make more money, they will complain. That’s what owners do. They’re competitive people too.

    I don’t have an issue with encouraging owners and GMs to stay away from dumb contracts (like the one Joe Dumars gave Ben Gordon this summer), but I don’t think owners – like the Nuggets Stan Kroenke or the Mavericks Mark Cuban – should be penalized for being willing to spend to reward their fans. The K-Mart trade-and-sign was a disastrous decision in hindsight, but it came from a good place: Kroenke wanted to reward Nuggets fans for supporting the team by adding an impact power forward. Why are we making owners suffer for that?

    Owners are suffering? Since when? Much of South East Asia is suffering. Californians who are losing their homes (that they shouldn’t have been able to buy) are suffering. Stan Kroenke being penalized for spending money over an arbitrary money line that he agreed to is suffering? I think not.

    Secondly, trades need to be simplified. In order to make an NBA trade today, teams must swap salaries that are within 125% of each other plus $100,000. Throw in trade exceptions and non-simultaneous trades and completing an NBA trade can rival doing your taxes: it’s an overly complicated system that no one really understands. I have no issue with salaries having to matchup to a point, but the difference needs to be higher than 125% plus $100,000 to give GMs more flexibility to make deals. Too many solid veterans are shipped around (see Smith, Joe) as contract fodder only to be cut and re-signed by the teams that dealt them in the first place. Why not allow trades to be within 200% and ditch the trade exception stuff altogether?

    Actually, this isn’t true at all. Not all trades need to be done with 125% + 100K in order to complete. Like, for example, the one that Denver announced hours after Feinstein wrote his piece on Friday, the trade that Denver completed with Memphis trading Steven Hunter, cash (3 million), and swapping their first rounder next year (with protection that won’t matter) for Memphis’ 2nd rounder.

    Now, why did the Nuggets do this? First, the 3 million in cash they sent actually got rid of Hunter, and they actually pay a player cheaper, and still save money than what they would have paid if they had kept Hunter. (Do you think teams don’t do this stuff for a reason? Cmon.)

    But, none of this is the point. Feinstein misses out that cap room is a function of a team not having committed money. And, cap room can always (and increasingly) used in multiple ways. These effects have ranging effects. Orlando has cap room, negotiates a sign and trade with Seattle for Rashard Lewis, Orlando gets Lewis, Seattle gets a trade exception. Seattle uses that trade exception for Kurt Thomas, and 2 unprotected 1st rounders from Phoenix (in 2008 for Serge Ibaka–who was picked 24th overall, and another pick in 2010). Plus, later in the 2007-08 season, Seattle ended up getting a 1st rounder (in 2009) from San Antonio in exchange for a few expiring contracts.

    Wait a minute here. How is the current system hurting Oklahoma City (Seattle) in rebuilding it’s team? With so many high draft picks the last 3 seasons (2nd overall in 2007 picking Durant, 4th overall in 2008 picking Westbrook, and 3rd overall picking Harden), this has made OKC stronger just by it’s lonesome. But, along with that they’ve also been able to pick players in the later parts of the 1st round that may pan out. Not all of those players do, but if you don’t have those picks, you will never know. OKC used their asset’s to gain that advantage.

    Which is why I don’t understand why the trading system has to change. It works fine. It’s just that maybe some fans don’t understand the ins & out’s. Well, a lot of fans don’t understand the American political system that they (should) take part in. Does that mean the US should scrap democracy because enough people don’t pay attention? I don’t think so.

    Moving on.

    Thirdly, the luxury tax line needs to be raised. As a Nuggets fan I’m admittedly biased here, but it’s not fair for Stan Kroenke to be asked to lose triple what the Lakers lose to put a similar product on the floor. If a small market owner like Kroenke is willing to shell out as many salary dollars as a big market owner like Jerry Buss or Cuban, why is he getting penalized so much for it? As reported a few months back, Kroenke allegedly loses about $10 million a season before the Nuggets exceed the luxury tax line. As of today, Kroenke is on the hook to pay out $76 million in player salaries – or $6 million over the $70 million tax line which means another $6 million goes into the NBA’s coffers. So between the $10 million Kroenke allegedly loses plus the $12 million he’ll be paying out in salary/to the NBA, this could be a $22 million loss. Conversely, the Lakers don’t lose any pre-luxury tax line money and while I’m sure they’ll say differently, I doubt between their ticket sales (double Denver’s), TV and radio package (triple or quadruple Denver’s) and sponsorship deals (also probably triple Denver’s) they lose any money all – even when they exceed the tax line. Whatever percentage of basketball related income (BRI) the NBA is using to set the tax line needs to be adjusted.

    Because that’s the system. If Stan Kroenke wanted to own the Mavericks he had has chance. He didn’t attempt to buy the team then. And, since when is Denver a small market? That’s a crock of %%%% that is worse than my garbage can. (Which I promise you is awful.)

    If you want to complain about the differences in market I understand. What I don’t understand, and don’t have any sympathy for (and I’m a Kings fan remember), is the understanding of why this matters. When you’re Stan Kroenke, and you have your wife billion’s to spend, than essentially you get to do what you want.

    First off, it’s not that hard to figure out the answer to why the Nuggets won’t make as much money as the Lakers. They’re not as profitable. Yeah, and the point is? And, I’m supposed to care? No, not so much.

    Secondly, every “question” that Feinstein poses has an answer that is simply answered. Basketball Revenue is Basketball Revenue. That same system that is hurting Kroenke this time around helped him last season. Part of what goes into Basketball Revenue is the big market’s revenue. Which, last I checked, applies to every team in the NBA. So, how exactly is Kroenke hurting by the system?

    And, wait a minute, where is that pointed out in Feinstein’s post? (It isn’t. Hypocritical, if I had a word, but hey, whatever.)

    I’m not even calling Feinstein a hypocrite in his own personal actions (never met him), but his post surely is. And, that’s where I’ll stop.

    I get where Feinstein is upset that the Nuggets may not have the inherent advantages that other teams have. And, so what? Is that those teams problem? What about the Nuggets? Would he complain about the system if Denver was the biggest city with the biggest revenue stream? (No, I think not.)

    I’m picking on Feinstein a bit, and I do apologize for that by the way (it’s not personal), but his opinion is hardly a solo job. Many fans believe some/all of what he does. Yet, if you look at a Nuggets blog like Roundball Mining Company, all I read is complaint about Stan Kroenke and his spending habits. Quite honestly, and Feinstein may not care, but Kroenke’s personal wealth actually is greater than Jerry Buss’, and that doesn’t even probably include his wife’s holdings (which are extensive). Which is of course one of the ironies of this deal, but hey, whatever.

    My solution to lack of fan knowledge is simple. Education. Educate. Yet, if you read the comments of that very post, some of his own readers don’t even agree with him! It’s so obvious why the NBA works differently than other leagues: The NBA is a totally different league than other leagues!

    So, I’m not being a part of the problem, and not to inundate long time readers with stuff they already know, this is only for those who would like to be better educated on the subject.

    Feinstein linked to the CBA that is available on the players website, but all the rules that govern the NBA are not fully on that particular site. Larry Coon’s FAQ is particularly great for the novice who doesn’t want to delve into dense legalese. A word to the wise, however. Reading Coon’s FAQ is dense. Reading it a bit at a time is a good idea. At the top there are questions that could lead you to a various level of topics. There are also parts where they contrast the 2005 CBA agreement to the one agreed upon in 1999. That’s always good reading. There are other parts that link. It is the best Salary Cap resource out there for anyone. If there is anything that isn’t in that CBA, it’s partly because an issue–Darius Miles is a good example even though Coon did have some of the Miles issue explicitly stated in his FAQ beforehand–hasn’t cropped up yet. I have seen very few things (I have questions and may send them to Coon, but I don’t wish to bother him either) that I have a question and feel vague about.

    One such example is regarding trade exceptions and BYC players. Does a trade exception only cover that players salary, or the trading salary? (I’m sure Coon can find out, but it’s very unlikely to happen anyway. But, still, it’s one thing that’s come up after reading that FAQ over & over.)

    Media Wags like Marc Stein, Sam Amick and others read it. I suggest the fan does as well. There’s no way a fan needs to be as knowledgable as I am about the salary cap (that isn’t required), but at least being able to figure out the way the salary cap works is a good start.

    Now, beyond even that, there is better sites for salary information. I always say to avoid Hoopshype because it’s stupid and is full of dumb error’s. Sham Sports happens to be my favorite, but that’s because I’m partial to the English. Draft Express has a good site as well, but it’s maintained by the same guy who runs Sham. I’ve found ESPN to have good figures as well, but it’s not necessarily consistent. (Kings Note: Donte Greene’s salary went up in scale from last season. I wonder what information changed there.)

    Now, I’m not going to make a crusade of anything else beyond those 2 sites. There are others, and I have them linked on my sidebar. I like Wyn (Of Canis Hoopus) because I like his spreadsheet, but I don’t trust that fans can tell what is what on his page. So, I don’t always recommend it. If you do understand all that stuff without hesitation, than go for it. StoryTellers has interesting salary information (trade exceptions, trade kickers) that can be useful in determining a players value in trade. As a Kings fan, we learned that first hand about John Salmons when it was found out about by Amick a few days before he was traded to the Bulls we found that he had a 15% trade kicker.

    Why was that important? Because that goes into Salmons salary (he had about 5.5 million that went up to about 6.2 million after the trade happened) that then needs to be approved by the Bulls before they make that deal. (Kevin Garnett also had one as well, but with a much higher salary, it made the C’s-Wolves deal more complicated.)

    Anyway, to wind this up, and I want to keep this under 10000 words if I can, I want to say that the best way to educate yourself is knowing what sources work, and which one’s don’t. That takes experience, and knowing whom you can trust, and can’t, is a big part of that. There is a learning curve, and it takes a lot of exploration. (Trust me, I understand why people Hoopshype. I’m trying to make it clear why I don’t.) This is why owners can get away with much of the disseminating hyperbole that is currently going on about the terrible circumstances of the current CBA. (I’m writing about this in part 2. This is part 1.)

    It’s really easy to say players are to blame, but if you take the players away, you don’t have a league. There aren’t any current superstars waiting to be drafted by the NBA at the moment (that we don’t already have an idea of whom they are) that aren’t in the league. The NBA does a good job of drafting it’s talent (which is the most useful way to acquire a superstar), and part of that is simply luck (a player drops to your spot or you win the lottery by getting a top 3 spot on any given year). The NBA, though, is not a league for the meek fan. If you’re a fan of the Kings, the Nuggets, or the Mavericks, you might not have as many chances to win if you’re the Lakers. That’s just part of the deal. (I think it’s safe to say that Mavs, Nuggs or Kings fans would find the championship sweeter though.)

    The NBA is a players league, and where one guy (say LeBron James vs Kevin Martin) makes all the difference, there is no way to make it equitable for everyone. The NBA does a very good job of currently doing EVERYTHING IT CAN to make sure that every team has the same advantage. With the luxury tax being what it is, the Lakers aren’t as profitable. If you raise that luxury tax, suddenly it’s much easier to be the Lakers. I don’t think Feinstein, unfortunately, has enough knowledge to understand that the CBA is a very tricky thing that before you suggest how to fix it, you might want to know enough about it. Nothing I read in that piece suggests he knows as much as some of his own fellow bloggers.

    Beyond even all that, Feinstein’s piece definitely is one thing that owners want to see (if you’re not an owner who stands to lose anything by a major CBA change which is what Feinstein would like). Michael Heisley wants a system to make it equitable, and it’s not hard to see why. In Memphis he will always be at a disadvantage. You take the LA factor out of the Lakers, the Chicago out of the Bulls, or the New York out of the Knicks, and that suddenly goes away.

    But, that’s really not something that works. The NFL has 16 games a year (plus 4 potential post-season games for 2 teams), and 4 exhibition games. It’s a very different concept with a different style of sport. The NBA has 82 games, and a possible 28 games in the post-season for 2 teams. Then you factor in the 6-8 pre-season games, and you’re talking about 100 games over a season.

    That’s a lot of revenue. There are a lot of NBA fans who want their team to gain every advantage they can. (Why should Feinstein be any different in that respect?) On the other hand, none of them would hate being a Lakers fan if they grew up being one.

    I won’t lie though. I’d rather be a Kings fan through the thick & thin than be a Lakers fan and be lumped in with a %%%%pot full of morons like the Lakers fanbase. For every Larry Coon you have, you have 100000 morons who collectively lower LA’s IQ every time they talk about the Lakers. Every league has a big bandwagon team, and the Lakers are the NBA’s team in that respect.

    I’ve never wondered what it would like to root for a team to win a lot of championships, and I’ve never felt that the Lakers (because they’re in LA) have this greater opportunity to win championships. The current CBA gives EVERY TEAM A CHANCE! to win a NBA title provided they have luck, intelligent management/ownership, and a commitment to doing whatever it takes to win a ring. If Stan Kroenke has that commitment, I believe it’s possible.

    (I don’t believe I need to recount how the Lakers got Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal. I don’t need to do the same with the Celtics with regards to Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Len Bias among others.) The system is fair and brutal to everyone. Stan Kroenke is one of those owners. (I would kill the Maloof’s publicly, and hard, if they ever complained about the market differences. That’s their problem. Not mine as a Kings fan, or any other owner.) I dont’ believe market size is an excuse, I don’t believe guaranteed contracts are a real problem if owners don’t make intelligent informed decisions, and there’s always luck involved. Some teams get more luck than others. Since there isn’t a real way to capture luck other than to observe it when it happens, I suppose NBA fans are going to have to demand that their ownership/management is more astute, players play harder because that’s their job, and educate themselves on the in’s & out’s of what the NBA really is.

    (Oh, if you’re wondering why it took nearly 8000 words to state my point, I felt like doing it that way. If you don’t like it, you can always sit on a 10 foot pole and rotate for as long as you like.)

    Good day minions."

    I’ve got an idea with regards to the 2011 CBA negotiations: Let’s keep it the way it is! « Evil Cowtown, INC.
     

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